The first collection of short stories by Alan Sillitoe (1929-2010), The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner is most notable for the work that lends the collection its name. Recounting in the first person the tale of a boy sent to a Borstal for theft, the unrepentant narrator’s monologues are used to express Sillitoe’s views on the class antagonism between upper-class ‘In-law blokes like you and them’ and the masses of ‘Out-law blokes like me and us’ (p. 10), justifying crime as a form of rebellion against an oppressive system. When adapted for the well-regarded film version of 1962, the censor was distressed at the work’s perceived ‘blatant and very trying communist propaganda’, but nonetheless the story was acclaimed by contemporaries, winning the Hawthornden Prize for 1959, and is now considered to be a significant product of social unrest in the aftermath of the Second World War.
First edition, 8vo., publisher’s grey cloth, usual age toning, pictorial dust-jacket printed in mustard-yellow and black, a little rubbed at extremities, rear panel a little dust-soiled, otherwise very good.
Bibliography Quoted in Helen Small, ‘The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner in Browning, Sillitoe, and Murakami’, in Essays in Criticism, Volume 60, Issue 2, 1 April 2010, pp. 129–147.
Stock ID: 96637